5 Bad Points of Japan

5 Bad Points of Japan Japan

Based on what I have heard directly from foreigners; I would like to introduce five bad points about Japan:

Too much work

I have heard this so many times from my foreign acquaintances and friends that it is hard to hear. People from the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam who come to Japan to work are often called migrant workers (dekasegi), and they are very satisfied with their salary, which is far more than what they are paid in their own countries. However, they were exhausted from working overtime and said they always slept on their days off because they were worn out.

An American English teacher was also surprised of knowing the amount of overtime work in Japan. He said that even in the U.S., there are days when he has to work overtime, but there is no such thing as working on holidays or service overtime. Companies do not like overtime work because they have to pay more than the normal hourly rate regarding this. In this respect, I was astonished to learn that in Japan, working overtime is regarded as “working hard for the company”. 

As the French word for “vacation” suggests, France is a vacation powerhouse. They enjoy their vacations so much that they say they work only to play. Such French people seem to have a hard time understanding the Japanese work style that does not allow for long vacations unlike theirs. They are like the line from a commercial: “Why are you working so hard, and for what purpose?

I was often asked with a straight face, “I love Japan, I want to work in Japan because I love Japan, but I won’t work for a Japanese company and so on.

In Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.K., where I studied abroad, students could take at least four weeks off, so everyone was enjoying their long vacations by traveling abroad. I always heard such stories, and to be honest, I was envious of them.

Prefer group activities

I was often told by international students that Japanese people act in groups and are difficult to get into. I think every country gets together with people from their own country as an advantage of performing well. Indeed, when I took a closer look, I found that Japanese people tend to stick together and do not allow others to come close to them. Many people associate with each other “because they are Japanese,” not because their personalities match. And wherever they go, they always work together in groups. I understand the comfort of being able to speak the same Japanese in a solitary place abroad, but it is not good to keep people from other countries at arm’s length. This might lead to unproductivity and hinder personal growth. The behavior of Japanese people who even go to the restroom together is strange.

Children are noisy in public places

In foreign countries, they are very kind to children compared to Japan. They don’t look at you with disapproval when you come in with a baby stroller on a bus or train, and they even help you carry it. However, according to my foreign acquaintances living in Japan, Japanese children are too noisy in public places.

I have a headache, so when they cry, it hits me in the head and I wonder if they can’t take into consideration that there may be people around them who are not feeling well. He was terribly angry, saying that it is perfectly fine for them to make noise at home or in the park, but if they make noise in public places, their parents should warn them. A German acquaintance of mine told me that Germans are very strict about public manners and that even young children should be disciplined not to make noise in public places. I was also taught growing up that children are supposed to cry, but from a foreigner’s point of view, it seems that they are not well trained. Parents should be able to teach their children such proper public behaviors if possible. 

Strangers don’t talk to each other

An American and an Australian living in Japan said, “Japanese people don’t talk to strangers. Japanese people don’t talk to strangers. Even if I want to talk to the person sitting next to me on the bus, I can’t because they look at me strangely. The tension is intimidating so I always choose not to have a chat with someone.  In the U.S., people who do not know each other do not talk to each other. In the U.S., people who don’t know each other start conversations with casual talk called “small talk”. They start with casual talk such as the weather or where the other person is from, and then become friends with people they are comfortable with. This may be a common practice among foreigners, but for Japanese people, it takes a lot of courage to talk to strangers. We were kind of hesitant to. In Australia, it also seems to be normal for bus passengers to talk to each other. She sadly told me that when she came to Japan and spoke to the passenger sitting next to her, she got a troubled look on her face. I thought, “Maybe he just didn’t speak English? I thought it was just a matter of not being able to speak English, but that was not the case. I think it is a very good cultural practice for strangers to talk to each other, and I hope that such a custom will be created in Japan someday.

Crowded Trains

I don’t think anyone likes crowded trains, but from a foreigner’s point of view, the sight of people putting up with so many people in such cramped conditions is bizarre. A British acquaintance of mine was also surprised to see station staff pushing passengers into crowded trains on the news. At first, Chinese students thought, “Is this what the rumors say about crowded trains?” But when they started working and used the train every day, they became fed up. In the UK, people don’t like others coming into their personal space in the first place, so the trains are never full. They say that if you wait for five minutes, the next train will come, so everyone will just wait. In Japan, however, even if you wait for five minutes, the next train will still be packed. In Tokyo, the goal is to eliminate overcrowded trains, and I hope they will do their best.